BABY | TODDLER · VICTORIA | OAK HOUSE

FORMERLY KNOWN AS DEN?

Welp, it’s October and I’m well into my sixth month of pregnancy with baby girl number two. I’m pretty sure (okay, I know) that at this stage of my pregnancy with Frankie Rose, I was sitting contentedly in her finished nursery, refolding the freshly laundered baby clothes. She had a name and I’d done the hospital tour and a baby care class and bought a car seat. I’m writing this post from the place where baby’s crib should (might?) go, if that tells you anything about how this pregnancy is different from my first. And there’s no car seat ordered yet, either.

I find myself very reluctant to set up the nursery, a sentence I can’t believe I’m typing. I just really can’t figure out where the “nursery” should be — as in, where the baby should sleep. It’s all a bit ironic because the mere existence of our den — the extra room we hadn’t had in our Toronto house — was what got me thinking about having a second baby in the first place.

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But in the six or so months since we renovated this room, it’s become one of our favourite spaces in the house. We keep Frankie’s big toys in here — her play kitchen, train tracks, scarves, blocks, baby bed — with puzzles and art supplies in the little dresser. We often start our day in here, with coffee and books. She often ends her day in here, playing independently while I clean up dinner.

I can’t help but think this room, kept exactly as it is, might be key to juggling the sleep schedules of a non-napping three-year-old with an early bedtime and a sleepy infant, at least at first.

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Moses basket could tuck in next to my side of the bed, a pack ‘n’ play would even fit at the foot of our bed if need be

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The two bedrooms in our house are a little removed from the rest of our space (see our floor plan here), while the den is at the crosshairs of noise (directly off the front door and adjoining the living room, where the television is, etc.). Frankie doesn’t nap at all anymore — she’s awake from 7 to 7, which means I’m awake from 7 to 7 — meaning the two bedrooms, located in the quietest part of the house, are basically unused during daylight hours, when baby needs to sleep, but no one else does (or when no one else can, at least, because of Frankie).

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There’s the doorway to the den, directly behind the living room couch!

Here are all the sleeping arrangements I’m mulling over:

Option 1:
We convert the den to a nursery, complete with a door, crib, etc. and make the den the primary room for baby’s sleep during the day to get her used to the crib and her room. (To keep crying time to a minimum at night we plan to have baby in our room at night until she’s sleeping long stretches… Frankie was just 7 weeks old when she started sleeping 8–9 hours straight.) Maybe we move some of the den toys into Frankie’s bedroom and encourage her to play in there during the day, instead of in the den.

Likes: We avoid a “crib transition” by having baby sleep in both the crib and basket (and probably carseat, stroller, wrap, etc.) from day one. Baby has all her stuff (clothing, diapers, etc.) in the place where she sleeps primarily, which makes diaper/outfit changes easy.

Dislikes: We lose a room that we all use and I have to keep Frankie relatively quiet during sleep times throughout the day. We’ll have to move key items (noise machine, baby monitor, etc.) between rooms depending on where baby is sleeping.  

Option 2:
We keep the den as-is for the first few months and make our bedroom baby’s primary room for sleep (daytime and nights). Once baby is sleeping less during the day (Frankie was down to two naps by 7 months old), we convert the den to a nursery and move some of Frankie’s toys out at that point.

Likes: We keep the den for a few months more and baby’s daytime sleep is fairly protected (noise from the living room and den won’t reach our bedroom at the back of the house). Everyone gets their own sleep space eventually.

Dislikes: We have to do a crib/room transition once baby is old enough to know the difference. We have to commit to sharing with baby for a little while, which will likely be disruptive to our sleep and hers (e.g., baby noises that wake us even though baby isn’t waking up, Pierre unable to go back to sleep while I’m feeding)

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Option 3:
We keep the den as-is permanently and set the crib up in Frankie’s room for daytime sleep. Baby will sleep in our bedroom at night until she’s sleeping long stretches, at which point we move her into Frankie’s bedroom for both daytime and nighttime sleep. By the time baby is 6 months old, the girls will likely have similar bedtimes of around 7:00. (Our longterm plan is to have the girls share Frankie’s bedroom, thereby giving us our den, but the initial thinking was to move them in together much later, like around ages 3 and 6.)

Likes: We avoid a crib/room transition. I can execute bedtimes simultaneously (let’s remember I’ll be on my own 8 days at a time with both girls). Frankie’s bedroom is the best room in the house for sleeping (darkest and coolest). 

Dislikes: At ages, say 3.5 and 6 months, sleep is still nowhere near perfect for either child and they will likely wake each other up at night. Dealing with different sleep preferences (e.g., Frankie no longer likes to sleep with white noise). We’ll have to reconfigure Frankie’s room quite a bit to accommodate a crib and the baby’s things; she might be resentful this early into sisterhood. 

I’m really trying to avoid “losing” the den before we have to, but also want to protect everyone’s sleep as much as possible! What do you think? Should the den become a nursery right away, soon but not immediately, or not at all?

SMALL FAMILY HOMES(1)

This post was written for inclusion in the October 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you’d like to see us write about, let us know!

Small Family Home — “Tiny Living with Kids: Sleeping Arrangements” : Finding room for everyone when there aren’t enough rooms for everyone.

Tiny Found Us — “Sleeping Tiny in a Big House” :  Letting go of our ideals and getting the rest we need… why we share a bed with our kids.

A Life Shift — “How We Host a Dinner Party in 590 sq ft” : Why we kick Campbell out of his room – and where he sleeps instead – while we entertain guests in our 590 sq ft apartment.

Tiny Shiny Home — “Let’s Talk About Beds Baby” :  I hope I got an old Salt-N-Pepa song stuck in your head. If not, just continue on with your day, but first read this post where I address where we all sleep in this tiny home on wheels!

Deeper Meaning Travels — “How We Sleep in a Small Space (with kids)”  : Living in a small space can be a challenge, but add children into the mix. See how we sleep in a small space in our RV home, with our two children in tow.

Tiny Ass Camper — “Sleep Training Failure” : How sleeping in a small space with our kiddo has impacted our bedtime routines, for better or worse.

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